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  Word To Life

Sunday Scripture Readings, Sept. 29, 2013

By Jean Denton
Catholic News Service

September 29, Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Cycle C. Readings:

1) Amos 6:1a, 4-7

Psalm 146:7-10

2) 1 Timothy 6:11-16

Gospel: Luke 16:19-31

Every editor or reporter ever to work for a newspaper has surely listened to the complaint, "Why do we have to see all the bad news? Why don't you give us some good news once in a while?"

Likewise, maybe you've heard someone say they didn't watch a certain documentary film because "I don't need to see that kind of violence," or "I can't look at people living like that -- it's too depressing." Then there's, "It's fine for some people, but I don't do mission trips because, you know, I've got to have my hot shower every day and a soft mattress to sleep on."

The squalor, the sickness, the poverty, the war -- it's all too disturbing.

That is exactly why we must look at it and read about it, enter it, empathize with those living in it, care for them and address their needs. We must be disturbed by the suffering among us because, as members of the human family, it is our suffering, too.

If we deny it or refuse to see and be part of it, we deny our relationship to humanity. Then what happens?

Jesus explained the result in his parable about the rich man who attended to his own comforts while ignoring poor, suffering Lazarus who was right at his doorstep. "A great chasm is established," Jesus said, when one has denied kinship with those in need. When the tables were turned and the rich man, now in the netherworld, was the suffering one, he had no connection to others. He was separated by a chasm of his own making.

This cautionary tale that we read in Luke's Gospel this week is probably as close as Jesus comes to a hellfire and damnation sermon. The message is clear. Rich or poor, we each are our brothers' and sisters' keepers. In caring for one another in this life, we share in the one life God has created for us, and we will share it with God forever.

It is this mutual love through which we become the body of Christ -- and we don't need someone else to rise from the dead for us to believe it.


When have you separated yourself from others in the human family? Who are the people you tend to ignore? How can you better connect to those in need?


"Between us and you a great chasm is established to prevent anyone from crossing who might wish to go from our side to yours or from your side to ours." -- Luke 16:26


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